Monday, September 11, 2006

An ice bucket for my red wine please!

Maybe this summer has been warmer than usual; maybe I tend to drink my wine cooler than before. But for sure, I have been served red wines in restaurants this summer that were way too warm. I don't know about you but for me, a Pinot Noir that is poured at 80F is simply not drinkable.

In France, we say that red wine has to be chambré which means at bedroom temperature. But what most people must have forgotten (even in France) is that bedrooms were traditionally the coldest rooms of the house.

At this point, the solution is to ask the waiter for an ice bucket to chill the wine. Now, in few cases, I even had the waiter argue with me that ice buckets were for whites only and much too cold for reds. Therefore, I was extremely pleased when I found the following lines on the wine list of a new restaurant in Palo Alto:

It is always a good sign when a restaurant seems to care about wine. This means that you'll most likely find a wine in the wine list that will work well with the food. And it is even better if the wine is served at the proper temperature.

If a wine has been ordered by the glass and is too warm, the problem is trickier. I sometimes prefer to order the ubiquitous Chardonnay that I known will arrive nicely chilled rather than having a warm red. The alternative is to chill the wine with a few ice cubes, stir, and quickly remove them before they melt completely and dilute the wine too much.

That evening at Mantra we ended up not ordering a red wine — instead, we felt like having an Austrian Riesling with our dishes — so I don't know if the restaurant really serves red wines at cellar temperature. Next time, I should find out.

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~ Phyll said...

I get too many a strange look from the waiters too when I ask for an ice bucket for my warm red. Especially in tropical Asian countries. At least the waiters in Asia tend not to argue with the customers' wishes...though you can sometime feel their unease.

In the West waiters tend to be so opinionated. Oh well, who cares. They are not paying for my drinks.

Catherine Granger said...

and they have a tough job!

jiyon said...

This is why I don't like to order red wine by the glass in some restaurants. The bottles are stacked on the bar or counter at room temperature which is too warm for my taste!